OK, so it all turned much better than some of us expected. The past couple of weeks have been one big round of cheering, waving the flag and feeling proud about the success of the Olympics – even if the ticketing was still a mess until the end of the Games.
For what it’s worth, a few thoughts on why it all turned out so well:
- Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony. It might have had a lot of people confused, but it was fun to watch and reminded us of the NHS, something in which most Brits, with the exception of the more rabid Tories, are genuinely proud. The nod to Empire Windrush was good as well.
- The two week gridlock we were told to expect for London didn’t materialise. In fact, it seemed quite easy to get about most of the time. So people didn’t have to go through a lot of aggro to get to and from work.
- The trademark police dropped the heavy handed bullying of anyone unauthorised using the Olympic logo. Would have been even better if they had shown more tact in the run-up to the Games.
- The BBC did a terrific job of covering as much as possible, even the less popular events. Despite ropey commentating on some events, asking John McEnroe to comment on sports about which he knows nothing, and showing David Beckham in the stands at every opportunity, overall it made it a great experience.
- All the volunteers. They were helpful, they smiled a lot. Not very British, but good on them.
- It kept all the politicians out of the news for two weeks. Well nearly, but it’s been pretty easy to forget out them for a while.
- All those medals won by Team GB. Be honest, it makes a difference.
- All the efforts made by competitors in every sport. Even the dancing horses. They devote years of preparation to this, and even those come in last are awesome.
There have been some stories in the media that lots of people are ready to sustain the mood through the Paralympics. I hope so, and not just because we’ve got tickets.